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Patents

Patenting Improved Articles That Use Proprietary 3rd Party Materials

Under U.S. law, improved articles of manufacture may be patentable if they are novel and non-obvious. Sometimes, an inventor comes up with a new article that is faster, stronger, more flexible, more rigid, lighter, etc. by using new materials to make the article. If the article has never been made with those materials, and if…

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Have Your Cake and Eat It Too – Obtaining Broad Claims That Define a Device or Apparatus Based on How it Works

Pros and Cons of Apparatus and Method of Use Claims Devices or apparatuses can often be protected by using two kinds of patent claims: apparatus and method of use claims. Each approach has its benefits and drawbacks. In general, apparatus claims expand the class of direct infringers relative to method of use claims but are…

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Are You and Your Patent Attorney Challenging Each Other?

Since we have been living with managed medical care for some time, many people have become accustomed to the idea that they need to act as their own advocate when dealing with medical professionals.  Thus, we have become more comfortable with questioning our doctor’s opinions and the bases for them and with the idea that…

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Expediting Patent Examination

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) has had a variety of procedures to enable applicants to speed up the examination of their applications.  However, they’ve generally been limited in some fashion or had burdensome requirements.  That has changed with the introduction of “Track One Prioritized Examination.” With this program, applicants can get a final…

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Top 5 Reasons for Getting Patents

This time of the year it is common to publish lists of everything ranging from the top songs to the top movies to the best and worst dressed people. Last year we published a list of the top 10 misconceptions about patents which we encounter in our work. This year we thought we would provide…

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Are Your Competitors Gaining On You? – Monitoring Competitor Patent Activities

How aware are you of your competitor’s patenting activities? Are they seeking patents that could impact your development of future product lines in your technology area? Are they moving into new technologies that could be game-changers? Are new players entering your space? One way to gain some insight into your competitor’s activities is to monitor…

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Foreign Patenting Challenges for U.S. Companies – Amending Patent Claims During Prosecution

We live in a global economy, and foreign markets are more important than ever. In many businesses, protecting intellectual property in foreign markets is at least, if not more, important than protecting it in the United States. Unfortunately, there is no “international patent” that can be enforced worldwide, and a U.S. patent cannot be enforced…

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Five Attributes of Companies With Strong Patents

In our role as patent counsel to big companies, small companies, and individual inventors, we are fortunate to see how certain patent holders are able to obtain strong, valuable patents. Based on our experience, here are five key attributes of those who have successful patent programs: 1.   They Understand The Economic Advantage Of Their Patents…

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It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over- Federal Circuit Court of Appeals Strengthens Reexamination Process

On July 2, 2013 the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals issued an opinion in Fresenius USA v. Baxter International, Inc., Case. No. 2012-1334, 1335 (Fed. Cir. July 2, 2013), which enhances the ability of patent infringement defendants to invalidate patents via the ex parte reexamination process. The ex parte reexamination process allows anyone to ask…

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Improving Patent Quality – Putting Teeth Into the Enablement Requirement

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (PTO) recently requested public comment on how applicants can improve patent quality.  The PTO’s Notice describes possible procedures such as requiring applicants to correlate claim terms to the specification and state whether examples are intended to be limiting or merely illustrative and requiring applicants to provide glossaries of potentially…

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